On March 20, thousands of Iranians held a large rally and demonstration in Brussels, simultaneous with the meeting of the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council. The protesters demanded the designation of the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, as it is the central apparatus used by the Iranian regime to suppress nationwide protests.
The rally was held hours before the Persian New Year, Nowruz, and was organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Participants carried the Iranian flag, chanting, “Blacklist IRGC now!” Prominent European and American dignitaries addressed the rally. They supported the ten-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), for the future of Iran.
In her message to the rally, Mrs. Rajavi praised the Iranian diaspora’s persistence in echoing the voice of their compatriots. “You began the New Year with protests and rebellion against Khamenei’s criminal regime. And you have come together to establish the will of the Iranian people: to urge the European Union to designate Khamenei’s ruthless Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist entity.”
“Through your efforts, you have made it clear that the nationalistic and historical demarcation of ‘no shah, no mullah’ is the inviolable red line of the Iranian Resistance, which all of you staunchly defend,” Mrs. Rajavi added.
Other speakers at the rally also expressed support for the Iranian people’s demand to establish a democratic and secular republic and their rejection of a return of the ousted Pahlavi regime.
“The uprising against the regime continues today. This movement started with the struggle against the shah’s dictatorship. The people of Iran don’t want tyranny. The regime is a danger to its own people and a threat to peace and stability across the globe,” said Ms. Latifa Aït Baala, a Member of the Brussels Parliament.
Former U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli also supported the Iranian people’s quest for democracy, urging the international community to be “on the right side of history.”
“Be on the side of the Iranian people, not of the mullahs. Be on the side of freedom, not short-term economic opportunity,” Torricelli said.
Senator Torricelli was joined by his colleague Patrick Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, in supporting the Iranian Resistance and the revolution in the making. “It’s not enough just to be against the mullahs. It’s not enough just to have fought against the Shah. A military dictatorship is just like a religious dictatorship, and with Madam Rajavi, we will have a democratic republic of Iran,” Patrick Kennedy said.
Belgian MP Els Ampe also joined American personalities in supporting a democratic republic in Iran, adding that “Thanks to the opposition, democracy is within reach. And when a democratic republic is an option, why should anyone choose a tyranny or a monarchy?”
“The people of Iran want the freedom to choose their religion, their clothing, and freedom of expression. This demonstration is for the achievement of freedom and democracy and to overthrow the mullahs’ regime, which suppresses the rights of its people,” said Françoise Schepmans, a member of the Brussels Parliament.
The rally and its attendees also called for the terrorist designation of the IRGC and the necessity of this action to counter the regime’s threat to global peace and security. “The European Union and its member states must take a firm position against the Iranian regime by designating the IRGC in the terrorist list of the European Union. What are they waiting for?” asked Mr. Mark Demesmaeker, a Member of the Belgian Senate, adding that “We must stand up against terrorism of the Iranian regime strongly because if we show any weakness, any kind of weakness, the mullahs will become even more aggressive.”
“We must be firm with the regime against the repression of the Iranian people, against terrorism in the Middle East, and against the policy of hostage-taking and blackmail,” said Manel Msalmi, international affairs advisor at the European Parliament, president of MRBxlville Women, President of EADM, joining others in calling the EU to adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis the Iranian regime.
In his remarks addressing the rally, Mr. Mehdi Same, Spokesman for the Iranian People’s Fedayeen Khalq Organization and NCRI Industry Committee Chair, said: “Our only demand is for the international community to respect UN and human rights principles and stop aiding the regime and their suppressive apparatus. The IRGC must be listed as a terrorist organization.”
Baba Sheikh Hosseini, the Secretary General of the Khabat Organization, also joined Mr. Same and other speakers in urging the EU to blacklist the IRGC while underlining that “Our struggle is legitimate because we are fighting the most criminal regime, a regime whose atrocities are evident across the world.”
Mr. Aboulghassem Rezaee, Deputy Secretary of the NCRI, also addressed the grand gathering, stressing that “This uprising not only shook the core of the regime but it also revealed the true nature of fake alternatives which were trying to take advantage of the situation to promote a return to the shah dictatorship. They tried to encourage people to stop protesting and return to their homes.”
“They are effectively aligning themselves with the mullahs. But the Resistance Units have shown that the only path to freedom is to pay the price and to make sacrifices. The principal policy of ‘no to the Shah, no to mullahs’ is clearer than ever. This is the main policy of the NCRI and is echoed across Iran by people who want a democratic republic,” he added.
Paolo Casaca, a former MEP, also praised the Iranian people’s courage, saying that “the most important respect to the Iranian people, to their courage, to its persistence, to their unbreakable will to achieve liberation.”
“The next Iranian state should be a democratic and secular government. We will be able to create an Iran that will be able to establish peace and freedom in the region. My party supports your cause,” said Mr. Serge de Patoul, Former MP from Brussels Parliament and former mayor of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, who addressed the rally next.
Members of the Iranian communities and associations also spoke at the rally, vowing to continue their efforts in the upcoming year to echo the voice of their risen compatriots.